How to save your bandwidth

Monday, 26 March 2012 05:13 | Written by  Joyce Tonda
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It seems odd that with all the fibre optic cable running around in East Africa, we should be having unlimited heydays of uncapped cheap bandwidth to download all the videos we want, all the MBs worth of family and friends pics with plenty left over to Skype and upload supersized files to colleagues. Rather the status quo is less than ideal and it seems the cable is simply tripping us up albeit blame it on the pirates that are raiding raiding...

So how can you save your precious bandwidth and keep it going longer? First off to answer some of the oft asked questions:

Q. What takes more bandwidth- downloading or uploading?
A. To an ISP (Internet Service Provider) data transfer is data transfer; whether you are streaming music (listening to a song online or watching a video online), uploading files to email to a colleague or downloading a video from YouTube, the total of data transferred to or from will count against your bandwidth. This will explain why even if you don't download a tonne of files and you upload heavy files, your data limits will still run out.

Q. Should I stream or download a video?
A. If you anticipate that you're going to be watching it more than once, download it because once it is stored on your computer you can watch it several times without using your precious bandwidth. If you stream it however (watch it online); every time you stream you will be using up your bandwidth.
If however you only want to watch it once, it is best to stream a low quality version  of it because this will use up less bandwidth.

Tips on saving your bandwidth
1. As mentioned previously, stream low quality versions (low definition) of videos unless its paramount to get a high quality version. You can usually go into options or setting to select the quality you want.

2. When you open a page which has a video playing, drag the marker to the end of the video. Do not just press STOP because what actually happens is that the video continues to download even though you are not watching it and are simply reading some information on the page. The alternative is to close that tab or go back to the previous page or to the next page.

3. Beware that when using torrent sites to download, you may inadvertently also be uploading torrents from your own computer thus using up your bandwidth. Always switch off the torrents when you are not downloading anything.

4. Set your internet connection to auto-disconnect when you are idle for example for 10 minutes.

5. How many times have you switched on your wireless on your laptop and been able to gain unsecured access to a wireless networks? A good administrator will have the sense and knowledge to secure a wireless network using MAC filtering and passwords to prevent outsiders from hogging bandwidth.

6. If all you want is content and nothing but, set multimedia (images, animations, flash, sound) not to download when you open a page. Go to Options under your browser menu to set this. You can always set them to view if you decide you want to see them.

7. Sometimes you''ll have applications that are constantly downloading updates-Windows itself, PC tuning applications, sidebar widgets; turn off auto updates as eventually the bandwidth they use will accumulate to your disadvantage.

8. Use an RSS reader which will amalgamate all your favourite content from different sites into one content page so that you can get info from all of them without visiting the site and downloading all the images and flash and video and audio-you get it.

9. One sure-fire way of losing bandwidth is not updating your antivirus regularly thinking you are immune. Malware is so common and runs stealithly these days that it can be running loose on your computer accessing various sites and transferring data back and forth thus using up your bandwidth. Have a strong arsenal of tools to regularly check that there are no unauthorized programs having a field day with your bandwidth.

10. If you use Gmail you can always select to load the Basic html version which is more suitable for low bandwidth users. You will still have access to all functionality in Gmail but without all the bells and whistles.

11. View the super fast loading mobile version of Gmail if you suspect your bandwidth might be running out in a couple of minutes. Use this link

For more daily tips on saving bandwidth, visit our facebook page:



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